Food, Photos, and What I Learned In Paris

Bon jour!

I have finally had time to reorganize and resettle after returning from my trip a week ago! I finally got 100% unpacked, put everything away, uploaded photos, and have had a few minutes to sit and reflect on the trip. So what I’m going to give you over the next couple of posts are food pictures, some fun pictures, and also a little bit about what I learned in each city I visited.

I truly believe that every time you travel someplace where the customs are so different from what you’re used to, you learn things without even trying. (And if you don’t learn anything, maybe you just need to pay a little bit closer attention to your surroundings).

With that being said, let me begin by taking you on a mini-food tour of my three days in Paris…

First, there were the crepes:

The first morning there, I had a lovely crepe with ham, cheese, and a runny egg. Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of that one, but this one with Nutella and Banana is a pretty good substitute! 

There was also quite a bit of cappuccino and espresso involved…

Sitting and enjoying these at little sidewalk cafes was most certainly one of my favorite parts of the trip! 

And then of course, the pastries:

A delicious, delectable, chocolate croissant

A lemon tart pastry… also known as a little piece of heaven. 

And yes, in between all of these sweets, carbs, and caffeine, I did enjoy some real meals as well:

Our picnic dinner beneath the Eiffel Tower on the last night. I was craving veggies at that point, so I picked up a little carrot-slaw to accompany my fresh baguette, goat cheese, and champagne 🙂 

Goat cheese, fresh mint, and a drizzle of honey in a pastry shell, accompanied by a small arugula salad. So simple, yet this was probably my favorite thing that I ate during the entire trip. 

There were other meals too, but I’m sure you guys don’t want to see every single thing I ate for a week (that would get a little boring, no?)

Beautiful sculptures inside the Louvre. 

Now on to the other part of this post: What did I learn from the French?

This one is easy, and is something that you can probably gather from all of the food pictures.  And it’s actually rather simple:

Indulge, enjoy, and savor (life). 

On the surface, this applies to food (bread, wine, cheese and pastries in particular), but it also goes a lot deeper than that (more on that in a second). In essence, it’s ok to indulge in decadent foods and savor every bit of it. The french eat bread like it’s their job. They walk through the streets carrying baguettes home to share with their friends and families for dinner. They savor a meal with friends, enjoying not only the food, but the company and the experience of it all. They have picnics beneath the twinkling Eiffel Tower at 10 pm on a weeknight, and they sit at sidewalk cafes taking an hour to enjoy a tiny cup of espresso.  There are lines out the door of pastry shops during lunch time; young professionals in suits lining up for an eclair (yes, really).

 But beyond the food, they seem to savor the experiences that go with it. There aren’t a whole lot of paper coffee cups being carried around the streets, nor are there fast food joints at every corner. It’s less about on-the-go, how-fast-can-you-get-where-you’re-going-while-eating-that-bagel, and more about enjoying the moment that you’re in. Doesn’t that seem like a great way to live (and eat)?

I’m not suggesting that we all sit around and eat pastries every day, but I AM saying that when we do eat a pastry, or some fine cheese, or indulge in a little bit too much wine, that we don’t have to beat ourselves up over it. Enjoy the experience you had, linger in the moment, and then move on. It’s really very simple.

And chocolate croissants are delicious. 

Another thing I learned from the Parisians? Always wear your leather jacket and scarf. I swear, even when it was 70 degrees outside, almost everyone was still in their leather jacket and scarf. Tres chic 🙂

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go back and drool over that goat cheese/mint/pastry picture. I’ll be back in a couple days with some thoughts and pictures from Barcelona. Enjoy!

Advertisements

I’m Baaaaack!

Well, Hello everyone!!

I’m back from my little jaunt to Europe, and I am definitely not in the swing of normal life yet, so this post will definitely be a quick one.

Lori and I on our last night in Paris 

I flew in on Monday afternoon, and dragged my jet-lagged, half delirious self to work yesterday, so I have not had time yet to upload all of my pictures to share with all of you. Hopefully I will get some time to do that tonight, so I can be back in the next couple of days to show you some of the delicious foods I tried while I was away!

To give you a little sneak peek, let me just tell you that there was an over-abundance of bread,  goat cheese, sangria, and cappuccino involved. And I savored every last crumb, and every last drop of all of it, because there was no use fretting over calories and macros while I was in two of the  most beautiful cities on earth!

There is one thing that I don’t need any pictures of to talk about though. And that is the absolute amazing time I had in both cities! Paris is Paris, and it will always be one of my favorite places in the world. But Barcelona absolutely blew me away. The people were so friendly, so relaxed, so helpful, the scenery was breathtaking, the food and drink were incredible… Just the atmosphere there was indescribable. I have never been to a foreign city where I felt so comfortable, so relaxed. It truly was the type of place I could stay forever!

Enjoying a glass of Sangria at my favorite little outdoor bar patio 

One of the most wonderful things about the trip was being able to just relax and escape from everything. I did not work out at all while I was there, and I consumed more bread and pastries than I have had in a long time. And you know what? I’m absolutely fine. I did not stress about food, and did not stop to think about working out even once.

Sure, I would take stairs instead of escalators, but that’s part of my normal life anyway. We were also walking a ton each day (except for our epic beach day in Barcelona…but that’s another story for another time), so we were active without even trying.  So while I was not working out, and was eating pretty much everything in sight, I also found myself listening to my body better than ever before. I found myself tasting things more than I usually do, and enjoying the experience of the food/drink, such as sitting and enjoying a cup of cappuccino for an hour rather than gulping it down in 5 minutes.

The beauty of Barcelona was that everyone seems to live that way. They seem to just enjoy life and everything that comes with it, which is a lesson that I think we can all stand to learn every once in a while! Instead of worrying about the little things, sometimes it is completely necessary to just slow down and enjoy the present, and to really take in what is going on around you. I found myself just sitting places and trying to soak up every moment, every minute that passed so that I could remember how it felt to be there. How often do you do that in your every day life?

I’m not saying that we all need to sit for an hour with each cup of coffee that we drink, because there’s not always time for that, but there is definitely something to be said for that type of lifestyle. So take a few moments today and enjoy what is going on around you… Notice the sounds, notice the flavors in your next meal, notice your feelings and mundane thoughts. Just be.

It may sound cheesy, but I’ll take cheese over stress any day 🙂

Bon Voyage!

I know I promised one last post before I left for my trip…

But…

I lied.

Sorry!

Honestly, I spent all weekend enjoying the sun, packing, and running last minute errands, and did not have much time to sit and write!

Rest assured that I’ll be thinking of all of you as I’m galavanting around Paris and Barcelona over the next week. I’ll be eating and drinking cheese, crepes, wine, and sangria to my heart’s content, but I’ll be sure to take pictures of a lot of the delicious food I get to enjoy so that I can share with you when I get back!

.Will be there in a week!

I will be taking this week completely off of working out. I haven’t had a week totally away from the gym for an extremely long time, and I’m going to use this week to totally “reboot” my system, so to speak. We’ll be walking a ton every day, so I’ll still be very active, but no external resistance, no weights, no crazy compound movements. Does that make me a little anxious? Heck yeah! But I’m also looking forward to having all of my time to explore these two beautiful cities without worrying about getting my workout time in.

la pedrera. barcelona, spain

Can’t wait to see all of the Gaudi architecture in Barcelona! 

And with that, I’m off! I’ll try to post some pics and maybe a few words here while I’m gone, if I can get some good wifi. If not, I’ll return next week with some glorious photos and hopefully some great stories!

Have a great week everyone!

Living The Good Life

There are so many things I love about Boston. Countless, really. I have lived in and around this city for 10 years now, and I still can’t get enough. And after all this time, one of my favorite things about Boston remains the same:

Restaurant Week

3-Course meals at some of the best restaurants in the city, for a fixed (and reasonable) price? Yes please?!

And this week, my friends, is upon us once again. Twice a year I get to indulge in restaurants that normally I can’t afford, and also have the perfect excuse to try not only dinner, but some fantastic appetizers and desserts as well. It really can’t be beat!

Last night I went out for Restaurant Week with two of my girl friends from back in the ol’ college days, one of whom just moved back into town and one who is about to move away (again)! So not only was I excited for dinner, but I was excited to see my two lovelies as well. We ended up going to Masa, one of my absolute favorite brunch places in the South End. Although I’ve been there for brunch about 10,000 times, I’ve always been dying to try dinner there but just haven’t made it.

It was worth the wait.

The Restaurant Week menu had several options for each course, and they all looked absolutely delicious. Here’s a rundown on the yumminess we experienced (although I really wanted to eat EVERYTHING on the menu…alas I could only choose one at each course) Also keep in mind that I personally believe that Restaurant Week is absolutely not the time to be strict with calories, macros, etc. Just enjoy the Heck out of it.

Appetizers:

Kristin and I both chose the Scallops and Barbecue Duck (YUM). It came in a sweet corn cream. To die for.

I apologize for the blur, and the fact that I had already had a bite before I took this picture. I just couldn’t help myself with those tasty scallops in front of me 🙂  The scallops were cooked to perfection, and the duck seriously almost melted in your mouth. SO tasty.

Natalie had a delicious looking butternut squash soup with apples, sweet onions, and red sage.  (Sorry, no picture of this one)

On to the main course:

Again, Kristin and I stuck together and each ordered the Southwest Style Steak Frites, which came with a scrumptious arugula salad. DOUBLE yum.

Again, sorry for the lack of a quality picture, but I was really trying to take these quickly before it got annoying.

Oh those fries… the hand cut fries…

Natalie ordered the blackened seared Ahi tuna steak which looked mouth-wateringly good… and got very good reviews from Miss Natalie!

Now for the most important course: Dessert

This time Natalie and Kristin ordered the same and each got the molten chocolate cake with raspberry sauce

And I ordered the caramelized banana diavlo bread pudding.

I know, I know, kind of a risky choice. But OMG guys. This. Was. Good. It may not photograph well, but it was a mix of about 5 different flavors, all of which complemented each other extremely well. I highly recommend this if you’re in the Boston area!

Overall, wonderful dinner at Masa with the ladies!! Some very well prepared food with a little southwestern creative flair and lovely presentation; we were all more than satisfied (and stuffed) at the end!

Now to cap this post off, I’m going to apologize in advance because I really just need to go off topic and do a little bragging. Sometimes a girls gotta brag, right?

I’m actually so excited I can hardly contain myself writing this. Why so excited, you ask? Because earlier this week, along with one of my very best friends, I booked a trip in May to Paris and Barcelona!!!!

RIGHT?!? This dude’s excited.

I don’t think there are enough exclamation points in the world for how excited I am.

I’ll write a bigger post on this when the trip gets closer, but I just had to let you guys know. We are just past the 2 month mark, and then overseas we go! Woo hoo!!

Yes, Paris, I am coming back to you. And Yes, it will be glorious.

Happy Friday, everyone!!